Once, high streets in the north of England thrived. Butchers, fishmongers and grocers competed side by side for trade in amongst the hustle and bustle of crowds, and markets brought specialist produce from all over the region.

But those days are firmly over. Town markets have been replaced by out-of-town supermarkets, and specialist goods can be ordered over the internet and delivered right to your doorstep, the very next day.

That's not necessarily a bad thing: cheaper food, provided by huge companies like Asda and Aldi, surely benefits those on lower incomes, but the faces of our towns have been changed dramatically as a result.

The question now is: what do we want from our town centres? That's a question currently being asked by Barrow Borough Council, which is canvassing opinions and ideas from the residents of Barrow on how their town centre should be transformed.

The council can change a lot about a town, and more funding may be made available in the north by a new government eager to cling on to those voters who turned blue in December's general election, but councillors aren't mind readers. Let them know what's important to you and what you want to see in your community, or risk losing your voice at all. You might not be interested in politics, but politics is certainly interested in you.